Brief background - my husband and I are 35; we went alone, on our honeymoon. It was the first cruise for both of us.
We arrived on embarkation day at 2 p.m. and practically walked right onto the ship - no lines whatsoever. I heard someone say it usually slowed down around 2.
We had an extended balcony stateroom. It was great! The bed was far more comfortable than I expected, and the pillows were comfortable. There was lots of space, room to move, lots of room for all of our clothes. The bathroom was fine; it had six glass shelves that held all our toiletries. We brought an over-the-door hanging thing as recommended, but didn't need it; we had enough room for our things. The cabin had a bar fridge, hair dryer, and shampoo and soap dispenser, as well as a couch and table. It was all very clean. We were on the seventh deck, and it was perfect - handy for going up to the Lido Deck (9), where the buffet restaurant and pools were.
The Food The food was awesome. I can't understand why anyone would ever complainabout the food. The Unicorn Cafe is a huge buffet-style eating area with tons to choose from, lots of seating, and prompt service. Breakfast was pretty much the same every day. There is nothing I can think of that wasn't included at the breakfast buffet, from made-to-order omelettes to cereal, and everything in between, so it is easy to have something different every day. My only other comment is that the food wasn't exactly hot sometimes.
The main dining room, Truffles, was wonderful -- first class food and service all the way. We had great servers (Roger, Aleksandra and Sarah). Don't be afraid to ask for something if you don't see it on the menu, and don't be afraid to ask for extras. My husband asked for Caesar salad one night and got it, no problem. You can have more than one starter; I also heard people ask for two main courses, two desserts, etc. The staff was friendly, efficient and accommodating. I thought two formal nights was a bit much, but fun nonetheless. This restaurant was also available for breakfast and lunch.
We paid the $30 extra and went to the fine dining restaurant one night. How incredible! We thought that Truffles was fine dining until we went to the Supper Club. It was well worth the extra money. A few choices were surf & turf, a 16 oz. lobster tail, and a 24 oz. T-bone, to name a few.
Prices on Board We didn't find prices bad at all. Drink prices were similar to anywhere, and there were drink specials every day. And the liquor is all "good stuff." I have traveled many times and often found it hard to get premium booze at all-inclusive resorts. On the ship. they only used good liquor. T-shirts, sweatshirts, other clothes, jewelry, liquor, etc. were all reasonably priced in the shops, and there were various sales every day.
The Casino For the cheap or occasional gambler, it was great to be able to play $5 blackjack any time of the day or night! I don't know if it is common, but we never had any trouble getting a seat at a table.
The ship was overwhelming at first -- pretty gaudy but immaculate. I couldn't help but feel like I was on "Titanic" a lot of the time - live classical music playing around the ship, the ornate decor, etc.
Shows All the shows we saw were good. We went to watch karaoke a few times but it was always the same people going up, so that got a bit boring.
Ok - now the downsides.
We experienced quite high winds during the first few days of our cruise, and could you ever feel it. It rocked and rolled like crazy, and I was sick for the first few days. (And I will admit, a bit scared! I never expected to feel the waves like we did.) We spoke to several other people throughout the cruise; one woman had cruised 12 times and never felt anything like it. Even the ship's staff said the Legend moved a lot more than other ships they had worked on. After about two days, the movement didn't bother me any more.
We assumed that because Carnival has "The Fun Ships," it would be a young, fun-loving crowd. There were some people like that, but our cruise was primarily an older crowd. (I would say maybe 70+.) We found that couples like ourselves, or even some of the small groups of single people, would wander around at night, wondering where everyone was. The disco was empty any time we went there. I think if you went with a group, it would have been better, you can make your own fun.
We had the late dinner seating, so we went a few times to the aft Lido deck, to the adults-only area, and had a hot tub at around 6 p.m. We were the only ones there every time but once. We couldn't figure out why, out of 2,000 or more people, we were the only ones to take advantage of this.
Because of the high winds, the water slide was only open a few times, and the top deck was closed a lot. This made it a bit hard to find a lounge chair sometimes, but we only really had any trouble the last day. We would often wait until later in the day anyway, so that the sun wasn't quite so hot, and by then other people were done for the day.
Other odds & ends: We chose to self-disembark. I read somewhere on a message board that this was only available for U.S. citizens. Wrong - anyone who can carry, pull or push their belongings can do this. I have never disembarked the other way, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was a fine option for us. There was a lot of confusion and complaining while we were all trying to get off the ship - the lineup was a little vague, and no specific area to wait was designated. We thought this could have been a bit more organized, but once we were off the ship, the process was fine. I didn't want to have to put my luggage outside our room the night before, so this all worked out fine for us.
I read all the posts about things to bring. I can't figure out a lot of it. Like I said, we had high seas - winds were over 40 mph much of the time, and that boat was rockin'! I did not see a door or drawer ever fly open, so I am not sure how I could have used duct tape. Someone else said to bring your own tea bags, as the tea was instant. Not on this ship. It was different than what I drink, stronger, but it was a tea bag, not instant.
Anyway, sorry for the length of this, but I hope it helps someone. I'd be happy to answer any questions!
Embarcation from New York was a real horror. Three hours of disorganization and chaos. The food, service and entertainment were quite good. If you are a non-smoker think twice about taking this ship.
Most public lounges and the casino are smokey. Even some of the pool areas had people smoking cigars (rolled and sold on the ship). The ship is clean and well maintained. The crew is friendly and always smiling. They make you feel at home.
Embarcation was delayed 2 hrs. due to a problem with passengers on previous cruise not having proper documentation to reenter US. As a result, we had no time to eat before the life boat drill. This was our 2nd voyage on this ship and we hardly noticed the "urns".
The ship is layout very well -- traffic flows freely and you never feel overwhelmed by the amount of passengers.
Loved the extended balacony which unfortunately spoiled us for anything less. Cabins are large with ample closet and drawer space. Real TV stations like TNT in the cabins.
Lido buffet very well layed out and spacious. Lots of variety of food. Loved the barbeque ribs and yummy NY cheesecake! No problem with seating. Pizza always hot and fresh.
Dining room staff can tell whether you like your choice or not and will offer something else. Pasta is available as a starter or main course. Meals took a little over 1 hour but never felt rushed. Loved the nightly entertainment by wait staff.
3 production shows in 8 days were each better than the other. No down time, very fast paced.
CD Brett and Tory, hisassistant both great. Tory is just a ball of non stop energy.
Photographers did a great job overall and especially with getting young children to pose. Lots of different backgrounds for portraits.
Lots of free things given away -- free cruise, pearls thrown out during port talk, raffles in the shops, etc. Bingo never less than $250 in pot.
Capt. did excellent job keeping us away from 3 tropical storms. Legend sails very smoothly in rough seas.
8 days were not enough! Lots of activities on 4 seas days. Really felt relaxed coming back into NY. Only negatives -- longer cruise wanted and different ports.
Had a great time on the Fun Ship. Our first cruise was on Royal Carribean Voyager of the Seas, which was Bigger and Nicer in decor and dining service. The pools were smaller and more crowded on the legend, but still felt the room service was impecable, food was good (not great).
Waiters were nice, friendly and fun-entertaining. I think I was spoiled with R.C. but have to admit-the people, games, service, clubs, ports were all good. We left 1 hour late, but made our 1st stop on time. Boat was rocky on way home, but no one felt sick. Even though itis a big boat and the fastest-I hear- it is still narrow in size. Slide was fun. Adult pool is more roomy and quieter than the family pools, although you miss the band and games.
We returned this past week from the 8-day Southern Caribbean itinerary on the Carnival Legend. Our trip was fantastic, with just a few questionable points, but so good that we're already looking at next year. There were 4 of us, my wife, my 13 y/o son, and 9 y/o daughter. Our last cruise was on the Disney Magic for the Millennium. and this WON'T be our last!
ARRIVING: We left a blustery Chicago on Saturday morning, and in order to use our free miles, we had a layover at LaGuardia. This turned out to be one of the slowdowns, as there was substantial bad weather along the east coast - forcing a 2-hour delay on the tarmac. There were people leaving THAT day who were concerned about missing their cruise! I have learned to now travel the day before - always. (By the way, the ex-Chicago Bull Scottie Pippin was on the flight from NY to FLA). We arrived later in Ft. Lauderdale, around 4ish instead of the planned 130. I picked up my rental car while the family snagged luggage- then off to the Hampton Inn Airport North. I highlyrecommend this hotel. A Great staff, easy to get to, and close to both the airport and the port. We spent that evening with my wife's grandmother, and then got a great night rest prior to the cruise. We returned the rental, and then cabbed it to the cruise terminal. We were there by about 1030, and had our documents checked outside the terminal. Then into the first line. we watched 4 wedding parties board, along with a wine-tasting group. Then, around noon, Carnival opened up the terminal. Well, then we went through the security checkpoint, and then up to the Skippers Club. We got our Sail-and-Sign cards, and were assigned "group 1" for boarding. Within 15 minutes we were on our way! A quick pre-boarding picture, then on to the SnS-picture taking for security, and then suddenly we were there! As we walked aboard, we all dropped our jaws as we looked up at the expanse of the atrium. We first got our drink cards for the kids, did a quick once-over, and then up the glass elevators to our room - 8214 on the Panorama deck. We had booked a GTY Balcony in May (we plan WAAAAYYYY ahead) and got this cabin assignment about 3 weeks before sailing. We were under the Unicorn Café so we did hear some rolling of the dish containers, but not horrible. Our room was ready, so we dropped our luggage and explored the ship.
DINING: We changed from late to early seating, and ended up on the main floor (go team Blue!) instead of upstairs. No biggie - but we ended up with a GREAT waiter. Winston was fun, and enjoyed the mind-games with my daughter - miss picky eater. Winston figured out in a hurry that it would be Cheeseburgers and Chocolate Ice Cream on a daily basis.The Dinners were always good. I enjoyed the variety in the appetizers and entrées, but would have liked a more 'thematic' dining - perhaps one night Italian, one night Continental, etc. There were slight themes, but it seemed to have been half-hearted. Nevertheless, the food was good.and the desserts were tasty! YUM!
The grill by the pool makes a great steak sandwich - it's not 'listed' - and their garden burgers are good too. The Unicorn buffet at the café was always good. The Rueben sandwiches at the deli are great. We liked the buffets, but didn't walk away with glowing reviews. However, considering that they need to cook for 3000 people, I'd say the crew does a great job.
Room service was prompt, hot, and tasty. The afternoon Ice Cream Sundaes (3 pm, Unicorn Pool side) was a nice treat, and the pizzeria was a fave! My son discovered the calzones there.and did his share of damage to the food pantry. The last night, we even got a 'whole pie' to help with packing. We re-discovered the pleasure of a splash of lemonade added to a glass of iced tea.
CASNIO & SHOPPING ON BOARD: The casino was good to me. Very good. J The casino is nice sized, and I had no problem getting a seat at the blackjack table. I didn't partake in the tournaments - maybe next time. But it was so good to me that I bought my wife a ring onboard - courtesy of Carnival.
The shopping was good on the ship. I bought my son a silver "by the inch" bracelet, and a gold one for my daughter. A few other trinkets for the wife, and magnets for the folks who work for me. I did buy the "towel animal" book. What fun. we're going to go buy a few cheap white towels for when guests come to our house. The booze prices were in line with any we say ashore, and the stuff that was available was a nice variety.
SHOWS: The shows were fun, as expected. We saw the Village Idiots (juggling) and laughed till we had tears in our eyes. The production numbers were great for a shipboard - with its limitations (size, space, etc). Jazz Hot and Take II were a lot of fun. Even our kids enjoyed them. A pleasant surprise, having read both good and bad.
STAFF: Our cabin steward was excellent, as was our waiter (see DINING above). YO RICHIE and OUTBACK ADAM seemed to have a lot of fun with the crowd - including during bingo (especially when my 9 y/o yelled SHIP! When she didn't get a number during bingo). They kept everyone going all the time.
OVERALL SHIP CLEANLINESS & "SHAPE": The ship is still beautiful. A few rough spots, but then, if I had to travel that much, I'd have a few, too! We noticed a few spots of peeling paint above our balcony, and in the Follies lounge, the backs of the main floor benches are worn. We didn't make the connection until just yesterday when we remember the fixed tables in each row, forcing people to rub up on the back of the row in front of you. Duh!
We went on the Lido deck, thru the glass door, to the very front and above the bridge for departing and arriving in each port as best we could.
The slide was out-of-commission during our trip, which was a disappointment to our kids - and me. No reasons, and no work going on with it... hmmmmmm EXCURSIONS/PORTS:
St Martin/St Maarten - Yes, the best shopping. We did the St. Maarten Island Tour. Our guide (X) was great! He kept us entertained, and showed us quite a bit of the island. Next time, we'll do a more 'active' excursion, but nevertheless, we had a fun time. We did some quick shopping, a few little trinkets, and we were done. Barbados - The shopping was one step down. We did the Barbados Coast-to-Coast tour. HORRIBLE! Our guide was horrendous. At one point, someone on the bus asked 'what is the population of this area?' and his answer was "I don't know- that's not my job". ???? We were astounded! We stopped at one bathroom/beach location where his friends had set up shop, and no one bought anything. Less then 5 minutes later, we stopped on top of a hill, at another "shopping" point! We all laughed on the bus that if we stop one more time, we'd each buy something just so we didn't have to stop again! We did complain on the ship, and also on our comment card. I may still write Carnival, as we booked these online weeks before leaving home.
Martinique - Worst shopping, but most lush of the stops. At the museum displaying artifacts from Mt. Pelee's eruption, we bought raw sugarcane, and had a treat! We saw Mt Pelee, and did the winding-road trip through the island. Be warned, the motion back-and-forth can hit people, even more than boat rocking. The island is however, beautiful. LEAVING:
We went to the Follies at the prescribed time, 9 am. and were expecting a looooong wait to disembark. At about 9:30 they called our tag color, and we went through the atrium for the last time (at least for now) and walked to customs..got our bags and a porter (well worth the $5), got a cab, and were at the airport in no time flat! 40 minutes from being called to being at the gate!
OTHER COMMENTS: When we arrived in St. Maarten, we awoke to a sight to behold. the Queen Mary 2 had dropped anchor just offshore. It is so large, that it cannot fit into the pier! Quite impressive. A great image I have is walking up to the pier in St. Maarten and seeing 4 behemoths waiting for us.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was our first trip on Carnival. We are looking at the Destiny for next March, because of its size, itinerary, and the experience we had. We've taken our children on our annual Spring Break trip to Hawaii (Honolulu area), twice to Mexico (all inclusive), and now this cruise. I absolutely rank this way up there!
The Carnival Legend is a beautiful ship! My husband and I have taken one other cruise prior to this and this one was so much more memorable. This would be the first time our four children would be on a cruise. In addition, we traveled with a larger group of 51 passengers.
There is much to like about this ship, its itinerary and the ports of call we made. Since we were eager to see the sights, I'll mention the ports of call first.
1. Belize: my husband and three older children decided to try the shark/ray alley excursion and snorkel with the nurse sharks and sting rays. While in Belize, the Legend does not dock, the Legend is about five miles from shore and you must take a tender to whatever shore excursion you have chosen. This excursion was the best one of this trip that we took. They all thoroughly enjoyed the pristine beauty of the shark/ray alley and loved shopping on San Pedro Island after.
2. Limon, Costa Rica: it was raining heavily this day and we decided to try the bus tour around the city of Limon. Becauseof the rain, it ran late and we were were too late for our early seating at dinner at the Truffles Restaurant. We were disappointed as dinner there was a highlight of the week. In Limon, across from the pier is a flea market type set up which was a tad miserable in the rain, but we continued on. If you walk further through the security building, you find that you can shop in the street shops, which is nice. It is helpful to have your cash in small bills, though.
3.Panama Canal Locks. The bus takes you the Pacific side where we caught a ferry to go through the Locks. This was a leisurely ride, but overcrowded. I really feel this excursion was overbooked. On top of it, the majority of the older population on this excursion was really rude and selfish. Perhaps they were New Yorkers. They served a cold lunch and cold beverages. Fun to go through Locks despite the people with us.
Dining/Dining Service: Many of us looked forward to the dining aboard this cruise. We were not disappointed at all. When I read others' reviews, I cannot believe it was even the same ship.
1. Truffles Restaurant: Elegant, offering many options for seating-- you can choose a romantic two person table or much larger, if you choose to mingle. Ours seated six and we were in the upper level of the restaurant. The decor is not of importance to us but everything was beautiful and shining. We had considered letting the kids dine with the Camp Carnival kids but we decided to keep them with us and we were so glad we did. Our headwaiter, Azem, and our waiter, Lindon were fabulous. They really made the kids enjoy the "stuffy" mealtime every evening. We hated to miss it. Azem and Lindon were both excellent servers, flawless and yet so personable. We enjoyed the song and dance nearly every evening and were sad to say goodbye to them both. They remembered our every need, we never lacked for the right utensils. Our needs were well met.
The food was good, elegantly presented and cooked perfectly each time.
2. Unicorn Cafe: This cafeteria style buffet was terrific. Sometimes there were lines and other times there were not. The food was good, the desserts (cheesecakes in particular) were yummy. No complaints about the unicorn, either.
3. Room Service: only used this for breakfast but our food was reasonably timely and was good.
Crew: The crew on this sailing were all so friendly, helpful, and really just so kind. While our dining team was terrific, so was our cabin steward, McDonald. He was unobtrusive and efficient. We never needed anything. We enjoyed the towel folded animals and the mints and appreciated the consistently filled ice bucket.
Shows: The shows were not really family oriented. The talent show should be screened more carefully. While I was offended on a couple of occasions, I must admit I was the minority. Most of the passengers seemed to really enjoy the shows.
Other: pools were fine, water slide was great. The fitness room really terrific. Truly! and I hate exercise!!
We loved our cruise and would do without the baudy shows. Other than that we'd be back in a heartbeat, knowing we'd get great service!
My wife and I have just returned from the 21 February sailing of the Legend out of Ft. Lauderdale to the Panama Canal.
Boarding was very well organized and within 25 minutes we were at lunch on the Lido Deck. We drove into Pt. Everglades and the systems in place worked great.
The ship was emaculate to say the least, Food was great no matter where we ate and Room Service was on time even the morning we were going on tour to the Canal.
Tour office staff was teriffic never a problem very well organized and knowledgeable.
Ports of call Colon Panama you are told not to go anywhere unless you are on a tour the city is very poor as are the people this is very evident the city and streets are strewn with garbage. lots of dead rats also.
Limon Costa Rica was very lush and nice we took a tour to the Dole Banana Plantation a great choice very enjoyable and educational also. Only problem and they admitted this is that the streets of the country are in desperate need of repair pot hole paradise I thought we lostthe front end of the tour bus several times.
Belize Our beach day was cancelled due to weather so we just went ashore to go through the shops at the pier We were anchored our 5 miles from the port. Also told not to roam around on our own outside the fenced in and guarded pier area.
The purpose of the cruise was to see the Panama Canal and that we did and experienced it also it is awesome I see why it is called one of the 8 wonders of the world.
Disembarkation was fine off the ship and in our car by 9:30 a.m. and out of Pt. Everglades on the way home by 9:45 a.m. In all a very pleasant cruise and nothing to complain about.
We were in a Cat. 8a Balcony which we enjoyed and utilized quite a bit. Thanks Carnival .Hope to see you again.
The primary reason I am writing is due to Linda O'Brien's review.
Embarkation process is what it is...I thought it was efficient, but could use improvement. I was so happy to be on board!
The piano music and decor when stepping aboard was quite nice, but when examining further, and being on board for a longer period of time, I found the urn theme to be jarring-and a bit strange! However, I found the service by bar servers to be excellent. Especially the internet cafe! So nice-but watch the times which he is available.
The dining room was again-quite overdone, but our service was attentive. I had a problem with the salads and entrees arriving at the same time, with the entrees waiting underneath plastic. Ew!! Truthfully I would say the food was not well prepared. Our steaks were underdone on every occasion, and the shrimp were tiny. (Oh yes, Linda, I know that Vegas does it better!!)
We had a lovely experience in the Golden Fleece night club and I would highly recommend this dining experience to anyone, even though there is a (again I hate this term $25 per head) surcharge of$25 per person.
But, when it comes to perks in your cabin, unfortunately, your apparently lacking travel agent is responsible for that. And responsible for not doing her/his research on the best cruises for your young people traveling. I provided $50 per cabin credits in my group's cabins for their enjoyment, anyway their wished.
My best advice is to ask questions. Do you want the Vegas (although Linda seems to think it's not up to par) environment? Go Carnival. Mass with Class? RCCL. Research your travel agent-and make sure they understand your wishes...if that travel agent does not, move on-find someone who cares!!!
For me, I enjoyed my exotic western cruise on Legend. But, there are few for which I would recommend it. I plan to go back to Celebrity and others, which will provide me the cruise experience I would rather have. I did not regret the configuration of the doors-a plastic chair propped in there provided us the tropical breeze. Elegant, no. Efficient, yes.
Be in touch if you have any questions. Be well!